Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania
Housing Resource and Partnerships Coordinator
Project Goal: Through this project, the Fellow will help social service agencies across the city better coordinate and disseminate housing resources to result in increased positive housing outcomes for an estimated 40,000-200,000 Philadelphians in poverty or at risk of poverty with unmet housing needs. Given Philadelphia’s deep poverty rate, having a central resource of all housing programs will be invaluable . If the project and the resulting guide increase the number of people benefiting from housing resources by only 10%, that would represent 4,000 – 20,000 people across the the city who would have greater access to information on housing resources, and the guide could have a significant impact on the more than 700 estimated Philadelphians who are homeless. Source: http://generocity.org/philly/2016/05/24/homelessness-facts-poverty-youth-government/
MHASP’s mission is to promote groundbreaking ideas and create opportunities for resilience and recovery by applying the knowledge learned from the people we support, employ, and engage in transformative partnerships. Our vision is that individuals with mental health conditions will be empowered to direct their recovery journeys, and family members will be prepared to play supportive roles, all as members of informed and inclusive communities.
Address 1211 Chestnut St, 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19107-4103
Total number of Agency Staff Members 255
Agency Budget $18,852,622
The fellow’s duties and responsibilities:
-The Fellow will help identify relevant resources (individuals, organizations) for inclusion in a housing resource guide with special emphasis on resources for people with behavioral health conditions.
-The Fellow will work with MHASP Advocacy Division leadership to engage identified stakeholders and set up informational meetings regarding citywide housing resources.
-The fellow will draft the guide, including editing, updating and organizing content
-The Fellow will be the primary outreach point of contact for information and questions about the guide during their tenure.
-The Fellow will assist in disseminating the guide across the city, including both governmental and social service stakeholders
-The Fellow will be the lead educator and promoter of the guide during their tenure.
-The Fellow will conduct outreach to educate on the guide.
-The fellow will develop and distribute a survey to measure the impact of the new program guide on MHASP and the wider Philadelphia social service sector.
Skills/qualifications a fellow should have to succeed in the position:
-An understanding of or willingness to learn about Philadelphia’s diverse populations, neighborhoods, and history
-Lived experience (personally, or as a family member) with housing systems is welcomed
-Lived experience (personally , or as a family member) with mental health/substance use disorders is also welcomed
-Academic coursework in a human relations field (psychology, sociology, education) and a general understanding of how people use and receive social resources and support.
-The ability to work independently on tasks
-The ability to be flexible and adapt to changing project needs
-Strong writing and editing skills
-Excellent interpersonal skills and the willingness to develop strong engagement and relationship building skill with diverse populations
Specific community need that the Philly Fellow will address:
In 2016, 40 percent of more than 6,000 homeless people in Philadelphia (May 3rd 2016 City Council hearing) reported that they experience serious mental health issues. Without medical insurance, income or connection to any other community services, people with mental health conditions have an increased risk of crisis. Continued homelessness exacerbates mental health issues, making it more difficult to access services. We work to break this interdependent cycle and move participants to housing recovery, and independence. Access to the right housing supports reduces homelessness and supports behavioral health recovery by enabling people to be productive, included, and healthy members of their communities. In Philadelphia there is currently no comprehensive guide addressing housing rights, resources, and how to obtain them for both housed and homeless individuals with behavioral health conditions. This project will meet a need for any low-income individual in Philadelphia seeking housing or hoping to maintain their housing status but will be particularly helpful for the behavioral health community, which has a higher incidence of poverty and homelessness. Requests for assistance with housing are some of the most frequent calls MHASP receives. Unfortunately, we are often contacted as a last resort when a person feels they have nowhere else to turn, often when an eviction is imminent.
How the new capacity created by this fellow will help strengthen the community and alleviate the problem:
The Fellow will develop a comprehensive guide on housing resources in Philadelphia, with a special emphasis on resources for individuals with behavioral health conditions. The guide will be available in print and online. The Fellow will work with MHASP’s Adult Advocate to engage relevant community stakeholders to understand the specific challenges of these individuals in obtaining or maintaining housing. The Fellow will then research available housing resources, eligibility criteria for each resource, and the steps required to access each resource. The guide will include information on prevention and tenant rights protection services to assist housed individuals in maintaining their housing, affordable and supportive housing services for individuals seeking housing, and outreach services to engage individuals who are homeless. Philadelphia’s housing system is incredibly complex. The creation of a simple guide will help to streamline the process, increase access to housing, and allow safely housed individuals to focus on their recovery, finding employment, and finding community. The fellow will work to disseminate this new resource to social service organizations across Philadelphia and conduct trainings to encourage broad use and understanding of the information.
Level of community involvement in the fellow’s project:
Through this project, the fellow will have an opportunity to engage with a number of organizations in Philadelphia working on issues related to homelessness, behavioral health and affordable accessible housing. The fellow will assist MHASP to elicit stakeholder input for the guide across a number of community systems (housing, mental health, recovery, the Philadelphia School District, the university and private health systems, faith communities, civic associations) as well as solicit individual feedback through its service delivery programming.
The organization’s experience operating anti-poverty programming of this nature:
Nearly all adult participants served through MHASP programs are low-income or live below the poverty line, including a substantial number of participants who are homeless or transitioning from incarceration. We offer a network of supportive anti-poverty programming to meet a wide range of needs for these participants including peer-to-peer homeless outreach teams, a number of Recovery Learning Centers (formerly knows as drop-in centers), a Community Residential Rehabilitation Program, intensive case management, individual advocacy to connect participants with benefits resources and support systems, financial management through representative payee services, and training, education and certification to obtain employment as a Certified Peer Specialist. MHASP also has strong connections with city-wide anti-poverty and healthcare access organizations including the Peoples’ Emergency Center, Project HOME, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network. This project will expand and enhance our existing work in individualized housing advocacy support for people with behavioral health conditions and will also be a resource for our homeless outreach peer team. The Philly Fellow will improve the capacity of our Adult Advocate to provide timely and accurate assistance to individuals seeking to maintain or obtain housing. The project will also allow MHASP to offer a new resource to our broad community of service providers that is both comprehensive and responsive to the particular needs of the behavioral health community.
Fellow orientation plan:
The Fellow will undergo our company orientation, as well as attend coalition meetings across the city with members of the Advocacy division. Senior Advocacy staff will provide introductions across the organization and the larger city social services community. The Fellow will meet with MHASP staff who work directly to assist consumers on housing issues. Additionally, the fellow will receive ongoing weekly supervision and feedback as needed.
Name and title of the fellow’s immediate supervisor: Alyssa Schatz; Vice President, Advocacy
Plans for supervision of the fellow:
The Fellow will have (at least) weekly supervision and task supervision with agency personnel, including the systems/public policy manager and senior advocacy leadership. Meetings will be structured to outline project priorities, progress, and evaluate the status of ongoing efforts. Additionally, the leadership of the department will meet with the fellow to discuss professional goals and provide mentorship.
Will fellow be working at the same address listed above?
Will the fellow have their own…
Office? Fellow will have their own
Desk? Fellow will have their own
Computer? Fellow will have their own
The approximate percentage of time the fellow will work…
As a team member in a group setting 20
As a team leader in a group setting 30
Will the fellow be expected to travel as part of the position? Yes
If so, how often and where? Across the 30 mile radius of the greater Philadelphia area, once or twice a month.
Will the fellow need the following to carry out the position…
A driver’s license? No
Their own car? No